Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Honest Thoughts... A letter to the Classroom Teacher

On many occasions this year teachers have requested a meeting to discuss an aspect of teaching that they feel they need to improve. Every time it's the same story...

Teacher approaches with nervous look on her face and half mumbles, while looking at the floor, that they want to discuss strategies for (insert area for growth).  Then, unsure teacher stumbles to find an excuse or reason they feel they need help. Some have even added an apology with their request. Something along the lines of... "I know I should already have this down, I am sorry for taking your time." To those teachers that have come asking for guidance, this letter is for you. 

A Coach's Letter to Classroom Teachers

Classroom Teachers, 

You work through the day with hardly enough time to use the restroom. You take care of the social and emotional needs of each student while also working tirelessly to fill young brains with knowledge. You work your tail off and hope that each student absorbs as much under your care as possible. Sometimes you have success. Sometimes you have failure. There are some areas of teaching that come naturally and other aspects that remain a struggle. As a teacher, you tend to hyper focus on that area for growth. Here is what you need to know... everyone has an area for growth. Everyone has something they could improve.  The ones that ask for help are the ones that end up making an impact. Hold your head high. Smile and be proud.

We go into teaching to make a difference. Think about how much more of an impact we could make by helping a teacher (you) improve instruction or management. Instead of helping one small group of students requiring intervention, we are now talking about multiple groups of students being met with high quality instruction daily... thus preventing widening gaps and beginning to fill holes. Hopefully, eliminating the need for intervention in the upper grades all together. 

When I enter your room, I am not focused on the one student that is off task or the fact that you misspelled a word on the board. What I see when I walk in your room is so much more. I see a teacher that truly cares. I am in awe of what you do in your classrooms daily. It takes guts and courage to ask for help.  There is no judgement on my part. Putting pride aside for the betterment of your students is admirable. 

The secret that I know and you don't.... it's always the good teachers that come asking for help. The ones that want the best for their students. Hats off to you, brave and amazing teachers. ...And, YES I would LOVE to help!

With respect and admiration, 
Your Literacy Coach

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Wobble into the New Year

Our Wobble chairs from Donorschoose have arrived! I am not sure if the kids or teachers were more excited to try them out. Thanks to a donation by State Farm, my students were granted the gift of wiggling while they work.

The teachers enjoyed the experience of trying out the new chairs as much as the students. I think they may need a lesson in sitting properly. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Happy New Year

Welcome back! As we begin a new year, I wanted to take some time to reflect on all of the amazing positive changes and gains made over 2014. If you think about how far we have come from August until now, it really is remarkable.

We ended the year with a BANG at our Polar Express spirit assemblies. The students and teachers both showed off their dancing talents and we played a lot of fun games.

Upon arriving back at school this year, I received an email from Donors Choose saying my project was fully funded. I should expect to receive a shipment of wobble chairs sometime in January! This should really be a wonderful tool for my kiddos.

When I dropped my daughter off at daycare on Monday morning, I was saddened for our wonderful break together to end. It made me thankful to all of the parents of our Christie Cubs for sending their children here daily for us to enjoy. We see our students more during the week than their parents... we need to remember that we are not just teaching math and reading! We are caregivers and we MUST provide an environment where these kids feel safe, secure, loved, and free to stretch beyond their current capabilities.

Parents, thank you for trusting us with your children.
Teachers, thank you for creating classroom environments where ALL student needs are met daily.

I will leave you with this: